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The Professional Service Firm Leader

Leading Clients, People & Work

Cambridge Judge Business School was the first leading business school in the UK to recognise that the unique challenges facing professional firms needed a specialised set of executive education programmes. Our professional service firm leader programme attracts a very wide range of senior professionals from a very wide range of firms.

The programme addresses some of the key issues facing leaders of professional firms today, including setting and executing strategy, what are the right leadership behaviours in a professional firm context, how to improve collaboration with your teams that you lead in the firm, thinking about culture and values and their importance, and also thinking about the challenges of needing to become more innovative in the face of an increasing pace of technological change.

The course is set up really well. It’s a compact course. Its content was really relevant to where we felt the challenges were as a firm.

I’ve already made quite a lot of notes about active ways in which I think I can make a difference with my teams and, indeed, my own contribution to the management team. So it’s already provided me with ideas about how to do things differently.

Over the last three days, we’ve done sessions on strategy, on thinking as teams, being effective leaders, and from each of those sessions, I’ve had furious notes and takeaways of what I can do to make sure that my team is running as efficiently and effectively as possible.

There’s a wonderful learning experience both in the classroom and out. I think the course has very much also given me a whole range of tools in terms of collaborating and sharing ideas.

Everyone on the course has also been very interesting, and it’s been very interesting hearing their contributions from their own businesses.

I would absolutely recommend it to my fellow colleagues. I’m going to have a hard time trying not to reteach it as we have meetings.

I will certainly be suggesting that my other colleagues who are on the executive committee should attend this course. I wish I’d come attended it five years ago.


The competitive pressures on partners, directors and principals of professional service firms have never been greater.

And as these pressures intensify further in the current economic climate, the temptation of many will be to focus on client-facing work rather than on the more challenging aspects of leadership and management.

How can you strategically differentiate and grow your practice? How can you nurture and develop your associates? How can you find the time to lead and manage your business and people effectively?

This programme will challenge you to explore the answers to these questions.

The approach

The Professional Service Firm Leader programme brings together leading business academics from the University of Cambridge with top consulting professionals with a wealth of experience in providing strategic, leadership and personal advice.

The result is a unique learning event which blends academic and practically based sessions to give you an in-depth understanding of the concepts of professional service firm management, coupled with the skills you need to apply those concepts in your daily working life.

It is our focus on implementation – in turning the concepts and research-based findings into specific actions that improve individual, practice and firm performance – that sets this programme apart. We recognise that firms from different sectors tend to face different issues in different ways at different times.


Programme content will cover key topics critical to the success of any professional service firm:

  • Integrated leadership and the motivational dynamics of professionals
  • Professional service firm strategies: practice segmentation; aligning the firm’s practices, people and resources
  • Leadership styles: becoming an effective role model, coach and mentor
  • Client service: making your client teams even more effective
  • Leadership and values: the power of personal example; 
  • Leading and sustaining change in the firm: what really effective firms do to stay at the top.


You’ll learn from outstanding faculty and associates of Cambridge Judge Business School and experienced practitioners where you will build a network with other professional service firm leaders from firms across Europe and elsewhere in the world. 

  • Understand the practical significance of the elements in the integrated leadership model – setting direction, commitment and execution
  • Understand the strategic execution process
  • Understand more about your own role as a leader
  • Develop an understanding of effective leadership and management of teams
  • Practical case studies to identify principles and reinforce the learning
  • Gain practical concepts and frameworks
  • Translate frameworks into day-day business responsibilities.

Who should attend

  • Professional service firm (PSF) leaders, directors and principals
  • Managing partners, members of partnership boards and other firm-wide management committees, practice area heads, industry sector heads, and those in line to take up such positions and responsibilities
  • Management consultants, accountants, lawyers, actuaries, engineers, architects, surveyors, physicians, public relations professionals, recruiters and others involved in professional practice.
The courses with Cambridge Judge Business School have given new perspectives to our senior people and we have seen a new understanding develop of the skills needed to manage and lead the business more effectively.
David Morley, Senior Partner, Allen & Overy

Faculty & speakers

Mark de Rond

Professor of Organisational Ethnography

DPhil (University of Oxford)

Ben Hardy

Senior Lecturer in Public Policy & Management, SOAS

PhD (University of Cambridge)

Bill Mitchell

Clinical Psychologist & Consultant, The Mitchell Practice

PhD, Dip Psych (University of Aberdeen)

Lionel Paolella

University Lecturer in Strategy & Organisation

PhD (HEC Paris)

Fiona Rice

Executive Coach

MA (University of Oxford)

Mark Smith

Senior Advisor

MSc (Henley Business School)

Philip Stiles

University Senior Lecturer in Corporate Governance

PhD (University of London)

Dates & fees



Fees *

5-9 December 2021

Sun eve-Thurs afternoon

£5,720 + VAT

VAT is charged at the prevailing rate, which is currently 20%; e.g. £5,720 + 20% = £6,864.

* Fees include instruction, materials, welcome dinner at Cambridge Judge Business School, two college dinners and daytime catering. Preferential rates may be available for University of Cambridge alumni and members of the School’s Alumni Association. Please note prices pre-registration are subject to change.

Four nights’ bed and breakfast accommodation (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night) is provided as part of the programme fee.

For information regarding payment terms, cancellation rights, transfer policies and fees, please see our terms & conditions documents:

Terms & Conditions for Self-funded Applicants (pdf, 277KB) (updated 4 September 2019)
Terms & Conditions for Organisation-funded Applicants (pdf, 295KB) (updated 4 September 2019)

Registration closes at midday two working days before the programme start date.

Participants are expected to attend the full programme.

Please ensure that you have read our Frequently Asked Questions, which provide important additional information about our face-to-face programmes, in particular during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have any questions or would like to have a chat about this programme and how it could benefit you or your organisation, please get in touch with the programme advisor:

Stacey Clifford

Client Relationship Manager
Tel: +44 (0)1223 339605

[email protected]

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Stacey Clifford

Version 7.1 (12 January 2021)


Professional Service Firms


5 days


5-9 December 2021

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To find out more about our range of open enrolment programmes, download our brochure.

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